“Chronic fatigue” is a symptom experienced by many people with chronic conditions such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, or lupus.  People who have deep tiredness that recovers with rest may also use this term- such as when one has a new baby, insomnia, or is underslept due to lifestyle.

“Chronic fatigue” should NOT be confused with the specific illness “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”. In fact, most people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome hate the name, because it diminishes the full impairment of ME/CFS, which extends beyond fatigue.

People with ME/CFS have a profoundly impaired ability to recover when their body (and brain) use energy – even small amounts. This is now better understood thanks to recent research, showing that impaired metabolism and glycolysis in people with ME/CFS. People with ME/CFS are profoundly different at a cellular level, from people who are normal but totally inactive (couch potatoes), and people who are sick with other chronic illnesses that make them tired, such as people with Multiple Sclerosis.

ME/CFS includes:

  • fatigue for an extended period of time with a slower recovery period,
  • post-exertional malaise – which includes both exhaustion and other physical symptoms.
  • sleep dysfunction
  • cognitive impairment
  • autonomic impairment, such as orthostatic intolerance
  • neuroendocrine symptoms
  • abnormal body temperature
  • immune system changes
  • flu like symptoms

6 thoughts on “What’s the diff? “Chronic fatigue” vs “CFS”

  1. This was great information! I have been dealing with MS for 16 years now and feels like an up hill battle at times. I started my blog a little over a month ago and I look forward to reading more of your posts!

      1. Oh goodness so worries, I completely understand! I will follow you and if I can do anything to help you please let me know! I have really enjoyed doing my blog. It has been a great month and a half. Connecting with so many wonderful people is fantastic!! Take your time and be patient with yourself. It was a little difficult getting started!!!

  2. Hello Mavis,
    Glad to see your passion for ME manifest to support the community. We need more people increasing awareness and facilitating connections in the community for our collective benefit. With that in mind, it would be great to chat with you about potential synergies. Shoot me an email if you’re interested and we can schedule a meeting – perhaps early next week?

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